Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Thalassaemia minor and cousin marriages


Thalassemia is a blood disorder passed down through families (inherited) in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia.



I need to ask whether it´s okay to marry your first cousin if only one of us has thallaesemia minor? and what about other diseases that our children can get due to marriage in the same blood line?


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4 Responses »

  1. Summer92,

    Cousin marriages are allowed Islamically. It is recognsed however that cousin marriages can cause certain defects such as Thalassaemia and other disabilities. Having said that, I do not have access to any reliable statistics that show the rate or cousin marriages that have resulted in health problems in their offspring. Most medics says that cousin marriages should not be discouraged, instead the couple looking to marry should have tests done to check if the genes they are carrrying may cause any health problems.

    Here is a link to the NHS website on thalassaemia:

    You may find this useful for information. I would suggest though that you do not rely on this weblink alone and consult with a qualified doctor who will also be able to carry out the necessary checks for you.

    SisterZ Editor

    • I remember reading that the normal rate of birth defects is between 1.5% and 2%. Among offspring of first cousins, it rises to 3% to 4.5%. So not a huge rise, but certainly significant. If the parents themselves are the children of first cousins, then it goes up significantly, to 12%. The Pakistani community in the UK has one of the highest rates of birth defects in the world, because of the prevalence of first cousin marriages. I read about it on the BBC last year.


  2. Salaam alaikum.

    I am not a doctor, and its been a few months since I studied this but what I can say is that if one you has already got it, be aware that the thalassemia gene will be in your family. One copy of the the gene I think leads to minor, and two copies (one from each parent) leads to thalassemia major. So this does sound risky. In general marrying within families is not recommended from a disease point of view. I don't know about specific diseases. I agree with sister Z completely that you should definetly consider genetic counselling. If you or the person in question is not yet married to their cousin see the doctor prior to marriage to get some more information on this.

    Sara Editor

  3. Salaams. I have been Introduced to a girl
    Through my cousin and I have met her and
    She is really nice Masha'allah. However
    I have thallassemia beta and she has thallassemia alpha
    We have both done out istiikhara and both have
    Had positive signs. I feel that I should carry on with this marriage
    What are your thoughts?

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